Health Insurance in Australia
The Australian government administers programs such as Medicare, pharmaceutical benefits, immunisation for children, and donor registry agencies.
Through the Department of Health and Ageing, the Australian government subsidises health care services provided by state governments and territories, as well as the private sector. The total spent on health care by the private sector and at all levels of government is close to 9.8 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. Australia feels the same pressure as other countries, of funding health insurance, as technology improves and patients expect more and better care.
Through the Australian government, financial assistance is provided to public hospitals, and residential facilities and personal care for the aged in communities and in their homes. The Australian government also is the source of the majority of financial aid to train health professionals and to support research. Psychiatric services, public health, disease control, health inspections, and children’s health, including schools, are a provision of the territories and state governments.
Private health care is also available, and the government encourages Australians to purchase private health insurance, and offers a rebate of 30 percent for health insurance premiums, but Medicare continues as the universal health insurance for its citizens who have high or catastrophic health costs. In 2004, an “Extended Medicare Safety Net” was introduced to cover 80 percent of medical costs for services received above a certain limit, and outside of hospital care.